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Houston Texans

Practice report: Run game update


Steve Slaton and the Texans practiced Tuesday, and will have Wednesday off before returning to work three days straight from Thursday through Saturday.

Tuesday morning at the Methodist Training Center, the Texans practiced outside under sunny skies and brisk winds. They have Wednesday off and will resume practice on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in preparation for their Monday Night Football game against Tennessee.

A fourth option?: Rookie practice squad running back Arian Foster saw his workload increase this morning at practice, and Texans coach Gary Kubiak plans to evaluate the former Tennessee Volunteer and consider him as a possibility in the run game.

"We picked up Arian's reps a little bit today," Kubiak said. "We got him a look. We had some questions there of possibly making a move with him and getting him involved."

Despite battling injuries his sophomore and senior seasons as a Vol, Foster is still second in career rushing yards at the school. This July and August, his play on special teams for coach Joe Marciano impressed Kubiak and company as well.

"He played well on special teams in the preseason, so I'll go back and look at this practice," Kubiak said. "He got a lot of reps in this practice, so we'll see how he handled himself."

Slaton getting advice: With eight total fumbles, five of which he lost to the other team, running back Steve Slaton was replaced in the starting lineup by Ryan Moats two weeks ago and is trying to fix the problem.

In practice, teammates routinely rip at the ball both during and after the play to make sure the second-year back is keeping it secure. Slaton said he's also seeking help elsewhere.

"I got Tiki Barber's tape," Slaton said of the retired Giants running back. "Tiki had a real big (fumbling) problem just like myself. He got his fixed, so why can't I get mine fixed?"

In addition to examining the Barber tape, Slaton has consulted some advisors from the past.

"I've just talked to old coaches just to get back to where I was before," he said. "It's just a problem that's come up now. I just wanted to go back and just get a sense of where I was before. You've just got to put it out of your mind and not think about it too much, but it still has to be there, just to know you've got squeeze it."

Kubiak wants Slaton to get back on the path from 2008, when he cracked the 1,200-yard rushing mark as a rookie.

"I think the next seven weeks are important to Steve," Kubiak said. "Year two has been a lot tougher than year one for him, but one thing about Steve that's been constant is his work habits haven't changed. The way he goes about his business hasn't changed. He's giving us everything he has he just needs to clean up hanging onto the ball.

"For us to play well in the next seven weeks, Steve will have to be a big part of that. I know I'm counting on him, and I know his teammates are, too."

Quarterback Matt Schaub echoed Kubiak's sentiments. He said whether it's Slaton, Moats or Chris Brown is running the football, their roles are important.

{QUOTE}"We need our backs to step up and play well, and they're going to do that," Schaub said. "We have a lot of confidence in them that they're going to play well."

Don't forget the 'D': With the league's leading rusher in Chris Johnson, and Vince Young undefeated in three starts, the Titans' backfield duo has garnered the lion's share of attention in the last month.

But the Tennessee defense has done its part as well, holding opponents to 19 points per game in that span and yielding 17 first downs a contest.

Left tackle Duane Brown explains what the Titans have done differently during the win streak.

"It looks like they rotate their guys a lot more and they're keeping them fresh," Brown said. "They have some pretty talented guys over there up front. They're big effort guys. Very physical. They're riding high right now, as are we. It's going to be a pretty good competition for the both of us."

Slaton also used the "R" word when explaining the Tennessee defense.

"They've been rotating guys in and out," Slaton said. "They stay a lot more fresher and get a lot more pressure. They've always been a tough defense, going back to last year. Just swarming to the ball and just being tough guys. They're definitely stepping it to another level."

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